So, let's start from the beginning. What is the story with your leg?
I basically fractured my entire tibia including part of the upper fibula as well. I was immediately rushed into surgery where I received a titanium nail down the tibia, and two large incisions down the sides of my leg to relieve the pressure in order to keep the muscles from dying. Obviously I knew my situation was bad when I arrived at the hospital but I had yet to truly comprehend the severity of my situation and the danger I was in of completely losing my leg.
Fill everyone in on what you were doing out on the East Coast at that time.
I had flown out two days prior to meet up with my Deluxe teammate Mark Potoczny and road trip to the eastern half of Pennsylvania to ride the TRA event and celebrate 20 years of Posh and I was stoked! 2014 was quickly becoming one of the best years that I've spent on my bicycle, and it will definitely be the most memorable.
What trails were you at?
The infamous Hazelwood.
For those that don't know, Hazelwood is a gnarly trail spot that definitely has the potential to take you out at any moment. What is it about the place that makes it that way?
That's true, they definitely are not for the faint of heart. They are big, fast and twisted. Those boys know what they're doing for sure. Hazelwood is one of the best spots I've ever ridden.
Damn, so what were you doing when you crashed? You had said before that you weren't really warmed up and it was a simple mistake.
Yeah, it was only my second run of the day. I came up short on a left hip slipping my left pedal, which is my forward foot. At that point my bike crossed over my leg pulling it underneath me.
What went through your head before you hit the ground? Did it happen quickly or was it one of those crashes that almost feels like slow motion?
Well it went from bad to worse pretty quickly. I felt my ankle start to roll to the outside as soon as my foot slipped. At that point I was ready for a bad sprained ankle. What I didn't realize was my momentum was about to cross my leg. That's when I heard it break twice as it pulled my foot 180° behind me. I didn't even crash I ended up sliding myself out to stop. I looked down and saw my foot facing the wrong direction.”
Hearing your own bones break has got to be one of the craziest things I can picture happening to someone.
Yeah it was nuts. I’ve broken a few bones before but I don't think I've ever actually heard them snap. I'd have to say the worst part was when I looked down and saw the bottom half of my leg backwards. At that point there was only one thing to do, pick it up and turn that fucker around.
How long was it from the time of your crash until you got to the hospital? You must have had an ambulance ride right?
It wasn't long. But we actually decided that it would just be quicker to get me out of the woods in the back of Mark Potoczny's car as quickly as possible. The ambulance would've had a hard time finding us. I was lucky to have them around to help. I was at the hospital within thirty minutes of the crash.
How was it pain wise initially?
I’d have to say that the most painful part was getting pushed out of the woods in a wheelbarrow. It was a shit show. I had an incredibly intense deep burning pain that grew from my foot and came all the way up my leg. It pretty much felt like someone had stabbed me in my calf with a searing hot knife. But I can't thank the boys enough for pulling through for me and powering me up that hill and out of those woods as quickly and efficiently as they did.
So what was the technical term for your specific injury?
Once I was in the emergency room it didn't take the doctors long to diagnose compartment syndrome. What that basically means is due to the intense trauma the muscles experienced in the accident they had swelled up so bad they were no longer receiving blood. So the doctors made two large incisions down the side of my leg in order to relieve the pressure. Although this might be a very barbaric procedure it ultimately keeps the muscles in your leg from dying due to lack of blood. They rushed me into surgery that night to make sure that I didn't lose my leg.
You were in the hospital for a while out there, how did you stay sane?
That’s a good question. But again, I was very fortunate to have such good friends in Pittsburgh. The boys were constantly coming by bringing me food and checking on me as well as some very interesting characters that worked at the hospital.
What was the worst part?
Probably when the cops stole my cannabis after going through my backpack.
What was the best part?
That I didn't lose my leg!
How is your leg feeling now and what has the recovery process been like for you?
It's good, it doesn't really hurt too much. But so far it has been a slow and steady process, I'm just being patient and staying positive. I know it's going to take some time before I can rebuild the strength.
How long do you have before you will be feeling back to normal?
It is going to be about a year before my leg is fully recovered.
Obviously the doctors know you ride BMX professionally so what kind of time frame did they give you before you would actually be riding again?
My doctor is awesome. Dr Chao has worked with some of the best athletes in the world so he is no stranger to bad injures. He won't baby it and will help push you. So I hope to start pumping around by April or May.